To whom and to what do I now owe allegiance?

Today I wrote “my” United States Congressman Glenn Thompson, not to congratulate him on winning his race (I am a bit too blunt and honest to pretend that), but to ask him a question in the hope that maybe he will understand the disenchantment I feel as our political system becomes every more unrepresentative of most Americans. He may not agree with that, but will he answer?

Dear Rep. Thompson:

I send this is all sincerity, not to badger you, but as a son of a career Army man and wounded WWII veteran, and because you are a part of this system I describe here and I am one of your constituents. I would really like an answer in writing to the last question. I doubt you will do that because you do not have to do it. You are in power now. You can do what you like, including ignoring me. But if you really claim to represent me, you will read this and answer my question.

In my view, our representative democracy is no longer representative. The Senate is institutionally unrepresentative since each state gets two senators regardless of population. There are more low population conservative states than liberal states, giving conservatives an advantage.

The House is now unrepresentative and is likely to stay that way until after the 2020 census for reasons given in the above article, and then only if Republicans lose power in state legislatures, which probably won’t happen soon enough.

The presidency is mostly representative since it mainly reflects (for now) each state as a whole, but it is institutionally handicapped by the electoral college scheme that gives two electors to each state regardless of size, thereby giving disproportionate power to smaller, mostly conservative states.

Look for Republican state legislatures to move from winner-take-all-electoral college allocation to allocation based on gerrymandered House districts.

My question: to whom and to what do I now owe allegiance? I hope you at least care enough about my disenchantment with the system you are building to answer me.

Did my father’s sacrifice in WWII to preserve our freedoms go for naught? Can I no longer stand in front of the flag and pledge allegiance “to the republic for which it stands”? Will you give me a sincere answer to these questions? Politics is your career. Surely you have some thoughts on this matter.

Stephen Cleghorn
Reynoldsville, PA

About jstephencleghorn

My name is Dr. J. Stephen Cleghorn. I am now a resident of Baltimore, MD. I continue to own a 50-acre certified organic farm in Jefferson County, PA that I operated with my late wife Lucinda between 2005 and 2011 when she passed away from cancer. The farm is now under lease to organic farmers and protected by "The Dr. Lucinda Hart-Gonzalez Conservation Easement” which protects it for organic agriculture and against the threats of industrial development that would violate the Rights of Nature. The blog’s name is taken from the writings of Saint Augustine who believed “Hope” to be the greatest of spiritual gifts. And, says Saint Augustine, Hope has two lovely daughters: Anger and Courage. Anger so that what must not be may not be; courage so that what should be can be. Anger and Courage. Now in late 2016, after the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, these are the spiritual gifts that must come to the fore if we are to have “Hope” for a loving culture and a sustainable world for future generations. When I first created this blog it was focused on the extreme form of fossil fuel extraction known as “fracking” that was threatening much of the state of Pennsylvania and many other parts of the United States. At the root of that struggle was and is a struggle to halt and reverse climate change. Now the struggle has turned to resisting an incoming Trump Administration that is an existential threat to the climate with its plans to ramp up extraction and use of fossil fuels. This blog will be about having the courage to stand up to the massive global corporations that would ruin our planet and its climate, take their profits and leave the mess to future generations of to clean up. We need to rise up, my friends, and be not afraid.
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